A transformer caught fire Sunday afternoon at a Pacific Gas & Electric substation in East Oakland, cutting power to tens of thousands of people in the East Bay.
About 25 firefighters from the Oakland Fire Department responded to the blaze at a PG&E substation near 50th Avenue and Coliseum Way, near the Oakland Coliseum, around 1 p.m., according to Michael Hunt, an Oakland fire department spokesperson.
Firefighters arrived to find brownish-gray smoke billowing from the PG&E yard, and once inside they realized a transformer was burning, said James Bowron, a chief of the Oakland Fire Brigade Battalion. Once they were sure the area was no longer electrified, firefighters managed to use a dry chemical extinguisher to extinguish the flame. The fire was under control about an hour and a half after firefighters arrived.
Air quality in the region did not approach dangerous levels, and air monitors all came back negative for toxins, Bowron said.
As of 3:15 p.m., about 50,000 PG&E customers were without power in a broad swath of East Oakland, the Oakland Hills and the city of Alameda. That was slightly less than a peak of some 54,000 customers earlier in the afternoon.
The energy supplier’s fault card stated that the power was expected to be back with the residents around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Check back later for updates on this developing story.